Letters to the Editor

Q: Islam contains the knowledge and frames the principles for efficient conduct of finance. The subject of finance in Islamic perspective is to be taught in many colleges, universities, madrassas. Even number of compilations on Islamic finance by renowned Islamic intellectuals dominate the horizon. Islam wants to purify the whole universe in every angle and to create an exemplary society where rich and poor both will thrive, where justice, equality, modesty, honesty, piety, integrity, sincerity and the ideals like such will prevail the society. 

In a daily publication of Kashmir –Greater Kashmir – where I came through an article authored by Sajjad Bazaz highlights that the interest accrued on the account where Islamic banking is not prevalent, one can spend interest on destitute and on the needy people. My aim is to know whether is it allowed to spend interest-accrued amount falling under Islamic prohibitions on the needy and destitute? At any point of time, the Prophet (saws) practiced the prohibitions in such a way? Please elaborate it in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah.

 Muzaffar Riyaz,
On Email

YMD

You want an answer from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Apparently, you are influenced by the propaganda by some misguided people, that the rest of sources may be ignored, by which they actually mean the four Madhaahib and local scholars, in favor of their own approved scholars. But if you are under the impression that the Qur’an and Sunnah will give you ready-made answers to millions of issues, ancient or recent, you need to get out of it quickly. Thanks to brilliance of the Jurists, however, with the basis provided by the Qur’an, Sunnah, and other sources of Law, they have been able to sort out millions of issues without any one defying the Qur’an and Sunnah.

The Qur’an and Sunnah have not stated anything about the issue you have raised. The Fuqaha‘ have, however, made it clear that Muslims of a Muhaarib State are allowed to gain money on interest. However, they do understand the difference between a hot, active war of a people against Muslims and a cold war against them. A cold war is one in which – apart from many other ways – Muslims are prejudiced against, e.g., are not given employment in governmental sector, discouraged in private sector, and, restrictions are imposed in different guise for them to do business, or practice their Islamic culture.

Depending on the depth of political economy, scholars have differed over whether a country is in cold war against the Muslims or not. Further, whether practical prejudice against them is relentless and continued, or does it come in waves, fits and starts. In view of these, and other, factors, the majority opinion is that acceptance of interest money is not allowable in a country where persecution is of the second kind, but in view of economic beatings, they may accept it and pass on to the poor without expectation of reward, provided it is accompanied by the fear that it might be questionable in the Hereafter.

Q: We are writing this letter announce our android application named Adkar-e-Tasbeeh/Quranic Dua on Google Playstore. Smart phones being an unavoidable device in everybody’s life in this modern era can be made use of in an Islamic way. We made this Android application for performing Dhikr and Duas from Quran.

The application also has a multi-talented feature of showing benefits of each Dhikr with authentic Ahadees. Duas from Quran have been added with the translation. The Dhikr count reminder feature includes a custom reminder number with the commonly used count like 33, 100, 1000 and so on. Each Tasbeeh count can be realized with a small vibration and a reminder of long vibration making it easier for the user to concentrate on the Dhikr without always looking on to the screen. The following link forwards you to the google play store of our application: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dev.adilharis.simpledhikrcounter&hl=enApplication name Adkar-e-Tasbeeh/ Quranic Dua on Google Playstore. We would be happy if you could publish this on your website.

Abdullah,
On Email

YMD

Website management is not too easy, but we hope this publication will help.

Q: Should I watch or listen lectures of Dr. Zakir Naik, as some Ulama call him an ignorant and misleading person?

Sameer Ahmad, 
On Email

YMD

You cannot find a person in ordinary life who specializes in several disciplines, such as: chemistry, zoology, astronomy, psychoanalysis, poetry, etc. Far from that, it is hard to find someone who specializes in just two disciplines.

If you wish to gain some information regarding Comparative Religion, you could watch Dr. Zakir Naik. But if you wish to educate yourself, say in Tafsir, Hadith, or Fiqh, we do not know of any specialist who is on the electronic media specializing in these disciplines. So, over any issue concerning these disciplines, you will have to contact the `Ulama who specializes in one of these disciplines, or, look into books. With specialists now only found far in between, books could be the better resort.

Q. I went to perform Zuhar (Fardh) Salah but I was late. I noticed a second Jama’ah was going there with two persons as one Imam and oneMasbooqI joined as a third. But the Imam who had been performing Salah didn’t say the Takbeeraat loudly. Once we had finished our Salah, the Imam and we had an argument. We asked why he didn’t say the Takbeerat aloud. He replied that he was performing Sunnah. We explained him with our little knowledge that we followed him going by what we heard that it’s permissible to do such kind of things, If so,  give the authentic Hadith or Fatawaa of KSA scholar, not from the four Schools of Fiqh, so that we can educate the person as well as ourselves.

YMD

If our youth did not realize the gravity of where it might end up living under multiple layers of unawareness, ignorance and false self-esteem, it might end up in a situation far worse than which can be projected.

You say you would like to educate the ‘Imam (of the moment)’ while you are yourself, by admission, unaware. Does this speak of arrogance or absurdity? Perhaps, not both, but the ethos of the time.

First, you appear to have no idea of the rules of Salah, the most important of rituals in Islam, not knowing which is a crime against yourself. Next, you do not wish to get educated to check back, but you want somebody else to do that for you. Third, you treat religious gossip as “a source of knowledge.” Fourth, you want someone else (this magazine) to offer you a Fatwa that would give you authority to argue out with the Imam. Does it imply that you are not interested in what the truth of the matter is? Fifth, you choose as to whose opinion you are ready to accept. Sixth, you sweep away the authority of a thousand scholars of the four schools of Fiqh who guided the Muslims for 1200 years, during their golden period when they ruled the civilized world. Seventh, you prefer to seek enlightenment from the age in which Muslims, including scholars, live, by and large, in slavery, having, in consequence, lost their faculty to think and decide freely what their role in Fiqh should be when the Ummah is assaulted on the intellectual front, not to speak of others. Eighth, the Prophet has strictly warned against cutting oneself from the mainstream Muslims. But the youth wishes to break away from them; (in your case, starting with the education of the ‘momentary Imam’). These trends, generally observed among the youth, make it difficult to pin good hopes on them.

Q: Now, I have a few questions:

  1. If someone joins me for Fardh while I am praying Sunnah or Nafil then do I have to start saying the Takbeeraat aloud to make it as Jama’ah?
  2. Can I join someone if I think they might be praying Fardh but am not fully sure?
  3. If I know someone is praying Fardh Salah alone (when I enter, he starts doing Qirat loudly or starts saying Takbeerat loudly), can I join him and make Jama’ah?
  4. For instance, I and some other brothers joined Jama’ah (Asr Salah) lately after two rakahs have completed, after giving Salam by the Imam, I and the brothers who joined lately stand and pray rest of the two Rakahs to complete meanwhile another brother can come and join me or join in any of the others to make it as secondJama’ah? Is that Jama’ah valid?

Nizar Salam, 
On Email

YMD

We do not wish to answer these Fiqh questions. Islam prohibits us. Islam has prohibited any divisionary talk or activity, even if such activity uses the Qur’an and Sunnah – unless a pillar of Islam is attacked.

If you are a citizen of KSA, we recommend you follow the Fiqh rules of the country prevailing there. There being prevalent all the four schools in the country, we recommend you to follow the rules of the Hanbali School, because that is the official School, and by which the courts deliver judgments. However, in your private life you are free to follow the Fiqh School in which you have been since childhood: Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafe`ee or Maliki. That is because, those immediately around you of the scholars would know the rules of their school (say Maliki, if you are in south-east, et al), and so, would guide you in matters where your knowledge fails. But, in public, you may follow the Hanbali School, and avoid any divisionary behavior.

But if you are not a citizen of Saudi Arabia, but rather, an Indian, then follow the Fiqh school in which you took birth. Most regions are Hanafi. But Bhatkal and Kerala are Shafe`ee. Therefore, if you are a Bhatkali, follow the Shafe`ee school. Nonetheless, if you are a Bhatkali, living, say in Kanpur, you follow the Hanafi school in public but Shafe`ee in private. The behavior we are recommending was first adopted by Imam Shafe`ee. This is because all four Fiqh schools are true and valid, by consensus of scholars of all four Fiqh schools. However, unity is above all other concerns.

The above is for a common man. For a Mujtahid, Taqleed is disallowed.

Q: I want to know: Is eating prawns halal or haram in Islam….?

Faozia Pasha, 
On Email

YMD

Following the suggestion of Mawlana Ashraf `Ali Thanwi, a massive book on Hadith-Fiqh in exposition of the Hanafi Law was compiled in the Arabic language by Zafar Ahmad `Uthmani. In eighteen full-scape volumes, it is called I`laa’ as-Sunan. It demonstrates how the Hanafi Fiqh follows the Ahadith. In this book, the issue of legality of prawns has been discussed and its lawfulness has been declared.

If, instead of a straightforward answer saying prawns are halal, we have written the above, it is because, for some reasons, the lawfulness of prawns has been questioned in the Indian sub-continent.

Q. What Islam says about Qadar (the Divine’s Destiny) in both positive (good things that happen in life) and the negative (bad things that happen in life). So, what about the destiny of brothers of humanity who are born as non-Muslims. Is Allah’s destiny for them to go-astray, if so, why Allah has made them (astagfirullah, if my question is in the state of decreasing my Iman)? 

Bienjamien,
On Email

YMD

If one is convinced that the Creator has done injustice to mankind, he has become an unbeliever. Once one has declared belief that Allah is the Creator of all that exists, it is not his business to question why the earth is the third planet in the Solar System, why there appears to be life only on one planet within the radius of 100 million light years, or why the rose is so beautiful and fragrant? It is nobody’s business to question the Creator about any of His creation. He said in the Qur’an:

I did not call them to witness the creation of the heavens and the earth nor their own creation. It was not for Me to take the misguiding ones as assistants.” (18: 51)

In the same vein, it is nobody’s business to question the Creator about who is sent where by Him, whether to Paradise or to Hell. He is the Creator, and He does what He wills. To seek justification is rebellion. To submit unquestioningly, is to escape being whipped until the brain is smashed.

The crime is doubled and tripled, when someone questions the Creator, while stubbornly refusing to find answers to his questions in His Speech, the Qur’an – a refusal which is permanent, with no intention to ever refer to the Speech in the entire life, until death.

The first response of any rational person would be to say, why not? Why not a Creator create a doll, then break its head, and discard it? Why not a painter produce a painting, and then, tear it down? Is he not the one who made it? Who sets the rules that he who creates, should not destroy? Who can say to the Creator, “OK. You can create – out of nothing, if you so wish and have the Power – but to destroy, you need our permission?”

The question then, by the unbelievers about Divine Decree, is based on stupidity and arrogance: stupidity because their own reason accepts that the Maker cannot be questioned, and yet raise the doubt that reason does not accept that the Maker should shove some of His creation into Hellfire. They say it is unreasonable to ask the maker of a picture why he burnt his artworks, yet say that it is reasonable to ask the Creator why He has chosen to burn some people.

And the arrogance reaches its apex when the people refuse to accept the explanations as given in the very Book which talks of the Divine Decree.

It is when Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories sit on an eight-year-old boy’s chest on the ground, and keep them in jail for months and years, when, for no reason, their footstools invade Muslim countries to smash millions out of existence, when they kill 30,000 yearly in homicide within their own borders but insist that Muslims in their country are potential terrorists… it is then that the Creator may legitimately be requested by a direct victim why He doesn’t use the option of the Fire earlier than destined? But why he who sits comfortably munching a chewing gum?

As for your particular doubt regarding those of your brothers in humanity, born in non-Muslim homes, as to why should they be sent to Hellfire, let us see whether your concern is legitimate.

A man born among say, pagans, Jews and Christians, learns by the time he or she reaches puberty that mankind follow several religions. He learns that the pagans worship several stone-gods, the Christians believe in three gods, and Jews in a God who has adopted them, despite their devilish behavior, as he also learns invariably that Muslims believe in one god. He immediately, even before he crosses the age of ten, realizes that one-god concept is reasonable, logical, and natural. So, does he say, “I cannot become a Muslim because they are terrorists, but God can only be one?” He lives on for half a century, but sticks to his multiple gods, never accepting the one, true, God. He is prepared to alter any idea, any opinion, any concept, if he receives convincing evidence. He is even ready to change his sex and become a woman. But the one-god concept is not for him.

Being born in a non-Islamic home is not the true cause of his disbelief in one God. It is his well thought out choice. He is so darn stubborn about it, that if you were to be at his death bed, and tell him, “Man! This is your final hour anyway; so, why don’t you admit that God is one?” His response will be to address those around him to say, “Will you kindly ask this man to leave the room?”

That is the story of your brothers in humanity. Your shedding tears for them, over this issue, is a matter of little more than a joke for them. Even the while you are fighting for them, they are laughing their throats out on you.

If you are convinced of the innocence of your brothers in humanity, you might read a history of just one country, say the USA since after the World War II, as written by any honest historian, say, for instance Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Paul Craig Robert, Mike Whitney, John Pilger and others of their class. It is good to be merciful: towards the poor, the destitute, of any religious belief. But, there can be no mercy for criminals, and not to cross the borders to allocate Paradise to them.

As for the concept of Divine Decree, we do not understand why it brings tears in your eyes. Relax, because no one believes in it. Tell anyone who is proudly displaying his just-purchased car that his effort has nothing to do with it, but rather it is by Divine Decree that he came to possess it, or tell a girl raped that she should stop whining for the same reason, or a father that his son taken to drugs, wine, gambling, and sex-peddling, it is by Divine Decree… and they will look at you as if telling you, “I never knew you were so dumb.”

You are speaking of the Divine Decree. But who believes in it? Today it is the evolutionist in biology who believes that the decree is written in your genes. But who cares for what they say?

Q: This question is regarding ascension of Jesus (asws). In Surah al-Nisa it is stated that neither was he killed nor was he crucified. But on the contrary, in other places the death of `Isa (asws) is mentioned like Surah Ma’ida, v.178. Could you clarify about the bodily ascension? Could you please address this issue clearly and what should our belief be regarding this?

Syed Mohammed Salmaan,
On Email

YMD

Perhaps, you are having difficulty in reconciling two statements of the Qur’an: one of Surah al-Nisa’ and the other of Surah Aalu-`Imran. That of al-Nisa’ is straightforward. It says:

“But they did not slay him, neither crucify him. Rather, it appeared so unto them. Surely those who are at variance concerning him are in a doubt regarding him. They have no knowledge of the affair except the following of surmise. They slew him not on a certainty.” (4-157)

The Ayah is clear: the Jews did not kill Jesus. (It is Christian literature which says that the Jews killed him). The second Ayah, of Aalu-`Imran, says,

When Allah said: ‘O `Isa I shall keep the promise made to you and raise you to Me  and will clear you (of the falsehood) of those who blaspheme and will set those who follow you above those who have rejected – till the Resurrection Day. Then unto Me is your return and I shall judge between you in (all) those (affairs) in which you were at variance.’” (3-55)

The confusion comes when you read wrong translations of the word “mutawaffeeka,” translated as “we shall deal you death.” This is the first meaning that comes to mind. But, has the word “mutwaffeeka” other meanings? The answer is yes. But that linguistic translation breaks a rule unanimously set by the scholars of Islam viz. when an unclear verse contradicts a clear verse, the clear meaning prevails, and the unclear needs further research. In this case, the clear meaning that should prevail is: “They did not slay him, neither crucify him.”

Consequently, the word “mutawaffeeka,” requires further research. That reveals that the word has several meanings in the Arabic language and usage. E.g.

  1. “I will complete your term.”
  2. “I shall put you to sleep.”
  3. “I will deal you death.” And,
  4. “to keep true a promise.”

For a careful translator, taking the meaning as, “I shall deal you death” renders the verse self-contradictory. It will read as, “I shall deal you death and raise you up to Me.” But every soul that dies is raised up to Allah? It is as if saying twice: “I shall deal you death.” The translation is then, incorrect.

Therefore, Ashraf `Ali Thanwi, a translator who understood the subtleties of the Qur’an better than many, translated, what could be rendered in English as: “O `Isa (be not worried). Surely, I shall (at the time of natural death) deal you death… (but, at the moment) I shall raise you to the heavenly sphere.”

(In the above, the replacement of “Me” to “the heavenly sphere” forces us to note, how much he, although a Sufi, was conscious of Tawheed).